Border Culture / House on Mango Street

Teacher Name:  Natalie O’Neil,

Class/period/level: 10th Advanced/Honors

Name of Unit:

Metaphors of Self

Enduring Understanding/Essential Questions:  

How is the individual’s identity shaped by his/her experiences navigating the world?

List high- level thinking questions that will guide instruction, practice or be the formative assessment and will be infused into the activities:

What does it mean to be part of a "Border Culture"? How do borders help/hurt us?

How can borders define who we are/influence us/our identity?

What makes an argument persuasive?

Learning Objective/s:  (What you want students to know and be able to do-refer to concepts and skills in Rubicon Atlas. Written in crystal clear language for students and should also be related to essential questions).

(Consider writing the objective(s) on the board for students to know.)

1. Students should be able to define border culture and apply it to our world today, and their own lives.

2. Students should be able to understand the metaphorical and literal meaning of borders.

3. Students can analyze how identities are influenced and created.

4. Students will ultimately apply the border theory to elements of House on Mango Street.

CCS and NJCCC Standards: (List 2-3 that are most specific to the focus of the lesson)

 RL.9-10.1. Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

RL.9-10.2. Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

RL.9-10.6. Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature.

Learning Activities:  (Provide detailed explanations of what teacher will do and what students will do)   Effective activities begin with a “hook,” have varied activities within the lesson and describes a closure that checks for understanding. Description of activities explain how essential questions will be infused into the lesson and connect the lesson to real life.

Day 1:

  1.  Ask students to respond in writing to the following, “In your own words, What is a border? What borders exist in our world/your life?”

[Opening thought on board.  Students responded individually--when finished, students signed onto Haiku to complete a poll about a time they felt restricted/limited].

  1. Think-pair-share.  Class will engage in a large group discussion based on students’ responses to opening thought. Tech addition: Allow students to respond to these questions using Pear Deck, Today’s Meet, or other digital response system.

[I was really impressed with the students’ discussion and responses to the Opening Thought.  Also, the “Poll” feature on Haiku was a great way to display to the class where we felt borders existed in our world.  Many responses were school and sports--discussion took place as to what those borders were]

  1. Teacher simulates a border in the class: Group students with brown eyes together, and place them in the center of the room. They cannot leave, speak to others outside border, and do not receive rewards. All the kids without brown eyes receive “rewards”. This activity lasts for a few minutes, then all students write how they FELT about being segregated.  (for those that read HOMS over summer, how does this feeling relate to Esperanza and her situation?) Class discussion will take place after written reflection.

[WOW! Great exercise.  Casually and unexpectedly, I set students apart in class based on “May birthdays”, “Open-toed shoes”, & “Glasses”  those not possessing any of those were asked to sit in the middle.  I made my way over to the group in the middle and discussed that we all would be going for pizza, ice cream, and a movie this weekend.  We discussed what kind of pizza we would get, how toppings were unlimited on the fro yo, and which movie we should attend.  UNEXPECTED input from the outside groups worked FABULOUSLY!!! They commented on how they wanted to see the movie or what kind of fro yo they would get...I simply said, “Outsiders are not a part of this discussion.”   Students slowly started to pick up on what was happening during this mock exercise.  After 5 minutes of this, students were asked to go back to their seats and discuss how they FELT.  Responses were thoughtful and reflective.  Students who were “rewarded” felt bad that they couldn’t include those on the outside.  Those on the outside felt left out.  I asked the students who were segregated if they wanted to question me as to how I decided to segregate.  Surprisingly, students were not concerned with why they were left out.  This transitioned nicely into making connections with why Esperanza felt segregated.  Student responses were because of her name and where she was living.  

  1. Introduce/Review main components of HOMS related to “borders” and “identity” (honors students will discuss “Hairs” and tie in the border concept to this vignette.

[We read Hairs as a class, then students individually looked for two quotes to identify borders within the vignette.  Possibly a future lesson, have students work in pairs to find and discuss borders. Students completed a think-pair-share and responses were exceptional.  Close reading of Hairs, resulted in a further understanding of borders and identity.]  

  1. Closure: Think about borders in your life and be mindful of them.  Post-It Note 3 points of discussion based on article students reading for homework, Border Children.

[Timing was smooth and all areas covered within this class.  Students seemed to really understand “border” concept and apply it to HOMS].

Day 2:

  1. Opening Thoughts: Ask students, “What are two positives & negatives of borders?  How does that affect our own lives?”
  2. Based on the informational text students read for homework, ( on Pros & Cons of Border Culture/separation, students were asked to move to different areas of the room based on agreeing with the article PRO side / CON side / On the Fence.  Students then discussed the opening thought question and their stance on the article [As I walked around and listened in on student discussions, I was surprised by their passionate and thoughtful responses.]
  3. Class discussion took place as to why students decided on the stance they did.  Groups engaged in a debate-like conversation.  [Students commented on how intense a class discussion can get based on the topic/stances.  I was excited this was brought up because it transitioned so nicely with the CNN clip I showed after!]
  4. In order to understand how different sides can be taken on the same topic, along with the Border Crisis, students are shown the CNN clip “Children in Limbo As Border Crisis Continues”.  [Students commented on how effective it was to view the video to understand how different sides can be taken and tactics of persuasion]
  5. We reconvene as a class to discuss the effects of support when attempting to persuade a side of an argument.
  6. Students are asked which side was stronger and why? They jot down answers, and share in their groups, and then each group shares aloud as whole class.
  7. Closure: Students will write down 3 things they learned from the article that they did not know before about border culture, and how this knowledge will apply to the larger unit theme: Metaphors of Self. [time didn’t allow to fully discuss.  We will continue this topic as our opening thought for next class.]


LESSON REFLECTION:  (Explain how the lesson met your objective.  Explain how the lesson can be improved.)  

[Please see red reflections above integrated into the lesson plans]